Noela Borja–The Face of Urban Gardening in Bacolod
A few minutes past 7 am, I finally reached my destination: a small, concrete house beside a foot walk in Alunan. In front of the house is a trellis where a grapevine spreads in abundance. At the back, the Lupit River. The surrounding houses are almost similar with it but this house stands out because of the grapevine and seedlings at its front.
This is the place of Ms. Noela Borja, the founder/admin of Seeds Have to Grow, a Facebook group page that joins gardeners, farmers and growers, where she posts about her seed-growing advocacy and her gardening and farming life. The group currently has 10,633 members and counting.
Seeds Have to Grow was born out of her advocacy to plant a million fruit trees to help mother earth. Seeds, indeed, have the right to grow, and she wants to inspire others to share the same enthusiasm in helping these seeds grow in any way possible.
As a gardener myself, I intended to learn from her during my visit, and I was never disappointed despite my limited time. She was mixing her potting soil when I arrived and she showed me her sacks of carbonized rice hull and clay-ish soil while telling me the combination of these to make it perfect for her plants. I’m amazed that this urban gardening wonderwoman didn’t have any formal education in agriculture. She only learned through searching gardening and farming websites, watching relevant YouTube videos, and her own personal, trial-and-error experience.
You’ll be amazed at how many plants are she growing at her small backyard. There are seedlings of lemon, kiwi, blackberry, strawberry, apple and more–all planted in containers, polyurethane bags and PVCs (for strawberries).
Ms. Borja continues her passion and advocacy despite the struggles she faces as a gardener in the urban. These difficulties include getting her soil and planting materials, not having enough funds, and having only limited space.
During weekdays, she manages to take a couple of hours or so in the morning to tend her nursery garden before going to work.
Truly, what you see on her Facebook group page is just a manifestation of her hard work and passion for gardening and farming, practiced every day.
Visit Seeds Have to Grow to know more about Ms. Noela Borja’s advocacy, learn about urban gardening, get inspired by the posts of the members, or share your own gardening story, tips and inspiration.